Zambia National Anthem- Uniting History, Symbolism, and Patriotism


By Cynthia-G-Toups

The national anthem of Zambia, “Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free,” encapsulates the nation’s identity and aspirations. Its roots can be traced back to the revered hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” by Enoch Sontonga, composed in 1897. However, the lyrics were adapted to reflect Zambia’s post-independence narrative, distinguishing it from Sontonga’s pan-African lyrics.

English lyricsBemba lyricsChewa lyrics
Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for the right,
We’ve won freedom’s fight.
All one, strong and free.

Africa is our own motherland,
Fashion’d with and blessed by God‘s good hand,
Let us all her people join as one,
Brothers under the sun.
All one, strong and free.

One land and one nation is our cry,
Dignity and peace ‘neath Zambia’s sky,
Like our noble eagle in its flight,
Zambia, praise to thee.
All one, strong and free.

Praise be to God,
Praise be, praise be, praise be,
Bless our great nation,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Free men we stand
Under the flag of our land.
Zambia, praise to thee!
All one, strong and free.
Lumbanyeni Zambia, no kwanga,
Ne cilumba twange tuumfwane,
Mpalume sha bulwi bwa cine,
Twikatane bonse.

Bonse tuli bana ba Africa,
Uwasenaminwa na Lesa,
Nomba bonse twendele pamo,
Twikatane bonse.

Fwe lukuta lwa Zambia lonse,
Twikatane tubyo mutende,
Pamo nga lubambe mu mulu,
Lumbanyeni Zambia.
Twikatane bonse.

Lesa, Lesa, wesu,
Apale calo,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Fwe bantungwa
Mu luunga lwa calo.
Lumbanyeni Zambia.
Twikatane bonse.
Imani timtamande Zambia,
Dziko la cimwemwe ndi umodzi,
Ife tinamenyera ufulu,
Tinapata ufuluwu,
Umodzi ndi mphamvu.

Africa ndiye Mayi wathu,
Dzanja la Mbuye lamdalitsa
Tiyeni tonse tigwirizane
Ndife abale m’dziko:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu.

Dziko limodzi, mtundu umodzi
Ndi cilakolako cathutu
Ulemu ndi mtendere m’dziko
Monga nkwazi m’mwamba:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu.

Mlungu, Mlungu wathu,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Omasuka pansi
Pa ndembela yathu.
Zambia timtamande.
Umodzi ndi mphamvu.


The hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” gained prominence in South Africa as a Christian hymn in 1923. It evolved into a poignant anthem during the African National Congress (ANC) meetings, later becoming a symbol of resistance against the Apartheid regime. This resonance spread through African churches, closely intertwining the melody with African nationalism, particularly in East and Southern Africa.

With Zambia gaining independence through the Zambia Independence Act 1964, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” replaced “God Save the Queen” as the national anthem. In 1973, after nine years of use, new lyrics were sought for Zambia’s anthem, leading to the amalgamation of six entries into “Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free.”

Rooted in Struggle: Historical Significance

The anthem’s origin within the fight against oppression in South Africa marks its historical significance. It stands as a testament to Zambia’s solidarity with the broader African struggle for freedom and equality. The transition from a hymn to a national anthem underscores the melody’s journey from spiritual resonance to a symbol of collective identity.

Narrative Evolution: Adapting the Lyrics

The transformation of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” into Zambia’s anthem underscores the importance of tailoring a national anthem to the specific context of a nation. The decision to reframe the lyrics, while maintaining the evocative melody, reflects Zambia’s desire to forge its unique identity while acknowledging its place within the larger African narrative.

Composing Unity: Collaborative Creation

The collaborative process that birthed “Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free” signifies the nation’s aspiration for unity. Merging multiple entries showcased the diverse perspectives that contribute to Zambia’s cultural mosaic. The authors’ names, forever tied to the anthem, immortalize their role in shaping the nation’s auditory emblem.

Legalizing Identity: The National Anthem Act

The passing of the National Anthem Act in 1973 emphasized the anthem’s sanctity. The act not only established the anthem’s English lyrics but also safeguarded it against disrespect. This legal protection underscores the anthem’s role beyond a mere song, transforming it into a national symbol deserving of reverence.

The Melodic Tapestry of Identity

The anthem’s resonance within Zambian culture reflects the nation’s diversity and unity. Its familiar strains evoke a sense of belonging and patriotism, reminding citizens of their shared heritage. This musical thread binds the nation’s various ethnicities, languages, and cultures into a harmonious narrative.

Zambia’s Anthem in Education

The anthem plays a pivotal role in educating future generations about Zambia’s history and values. It fosters a sense of patriotism from a young age, nurturing a strong attachment to the nation. Schools across Zambia incorporate the anthem into their routines, instilling pride and unity.

Cultural Expressions Through Anthem

Artistic interpretations of the anthem reveal the depth of Zambia’s creative spirit. Musical renditions, dance performances, and visual art inspired by the anthem highlight the diverse ways it resonates with the nation’s artists. These expressions serve as a dynamic reflection of Zambia’s artistic soul.

Celebratory Harmonies

Zambia’s Independence Day celebrations are incomplete without the resonant strains of its national anthem. As citizens join in song, the anthem reinforces the significance of freedom and unity, while also commemorating the nation’s journey towards self-governance.

National Anthem Controversies

Like many anthems, Zambia’s national anthem has not been immune to controversy. Some critics argue that the anthem’s lyrics should evolve to better represent Zambia’s contemporary realities. Such debates are a testament to the anthem’s enduring relevance as a mirror of the nation’s evolution.


Q1: Who composed Zambia’s national anthem?
A: The melody originates from the hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika,” composed by Enoch Sontonga. The lyrics for Zambia’s anthem were composed collaboratively in 1973.

Q2: What was Zambia’s anthem before independence?
A: Before gaining independence, Zambia used “God Save the Queen” as its anthem.

Q3: How is the Zambian national anthem protected?
A: The National Anthem Act of 1973 legally protects the anthem and grants the President the authority to regulate its use.


“Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free” transcends its musical elements to become a vessel of national identity, history, and unity. Its journey from a South African hymn to Zambia’s resounding anthem exemplifies its adaptability and symbolic power. Through the evolution of lyrics, the collaborative creation process, and legal protection, Zambia’s anthem serves as a bridge between the nation’s past, present, and future, fostering a sense of pride and belonging among its citizens.


Hello Cynthia G. Toups! It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I'm the creator behind, where we specialize in delving into the depths of song lyrics, uncovering their meanings, and celebrating the whimsy of nursery rhymes

Leave a Comment